Living out in the suburbs isn’t so bad. Sure, my daily commute to work takes just over an hour each way, leaving hardly any time to myself after a long day at work. But from a food perspective, we’re lucky to live where we do because we’re within easy reach of excellent Vietnamese food in Springvale, African and Afghan food in Dandenong, and as I’ve just recently discovered, fantastic Aussie brunch in bayside suburbs like Mordialloc. The city can keep its Hardware Societe and Richmond can keep its Top Paddock – my new go-to is Hendriks Cafe in Mordialloc.
Located off the main drag of Nepean Highway, Hendriks Cafe is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it warehouse space on the corner of busy White St, straddling the divide between industrial and residential areas. Being situated where it is means that they don’t get random walk-ins. Instead, discerning diners specifically travel to Hendriks in search for an excellent breakfast or brunch to start their weekend.
Hendriks is constantly busy, with anywhere between two to twenty people waiting for a table at any given time. We were lucky in arriving at the right time and managed to get a table after only a ten minute wait. Other larger groups weren’t so lucky and I saw some waiting for upwards of half an hour.
Hendriks takes drinks very seriously. It’s not about your standard coffees, teas and hot chocolates here. There’s cold brew, filter, triple shots Five Senses or Coffee Bird coffees, there’s a variety of fancier teas, there’s a different flavours of kombucha, Strangelove organic sodas, cold pressed juices and raw food smoothies. The three options that K and I were most interested in were the Golden Grind Turmeric latte, Matcha Maiden latte and Prana Chai late – we opted for the latter two.
While I loved the rich, almost bitter, earthiness of my Matcha Maiden, I suspect most people will find it unpalatable without at least a few teaspoons of sugar added. K’s extremely creamy Prana Chai managed to strike that balance between sweetness and spices, however was served in a pot with a subpar spout that ended up wastefully dribbling chai down its sides and spilling on the table. A minor problem, but one that could be easily fixed by the owners.
I chose the delightful Indo Fritters after realising that I’d been back in Australia for three months and had yet to indulge in the great Aussie breakfast tradition of corn fritters! These are corn fritters done differently. They were much rougher in their appearance, more hand-shaped and less manicured, with a strong Thai influence.
While the corn fritters were excellent, I’d have to say the egg was the highlight! Served in the sweet chilli dipping sauce, the deep-fried Thai son-in-law egg managed to ooze out some runny yolk that mixed in with and thickened the dipping sauce. The crispy deep-fried crust was also tempered with the softer boiled egg inside. A great way to experience eggs for breakfast.
K’s Cointreau Hotcakes had more of an American influence with its serving of ham steak. I’d swear that the hotcakes had some cornmeal in them, yet they were surprisingly as light and fluffy as a sponge cake, beautifully soaking up both the Cointreau and the honey. Like the strange combination of maple syrup and bacon, these honeyed hotcakes went surprisingly well with the stronger saltier ham steaks. I wasn’t sure about crumbled macadamias on top, but they at least added some textural interest.
As K mentioned, these Thick Cut Chips aren’t the crispiest or the crunchiest and they haven’t been triple-fried to perfection. They would almost win the title of the most fragrant thick cut chips I’ve ever eaten though, and indeed that’s what drew us to order the chips to share. As soon as we sat down at our table, we had smelt the overwhelming truffle aroma emanating from the table next to us – we had to order the chips ourselves. Well done Hendriks Cafe, while you may not have the crispiest chips, you have given us the most truffle-y chips.
I’m in love with Hendriks Cafe and we’ll be back soon. Finding a top-notch cafe serving up innovative and delicious Aussie brunch fare only fifteen minutes down the road for us is a real win. I can’t wait to try one of the other dishes I was eyeing on the menu – walnut crusted brioche with quince, port mascarpone & chocolate soil. Drool!
Hendriks Cafe is located at 105-107 White Street in Mordialloc, Melbourne.